The program director of the city government’s Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTF) vowed on Tuesday that he will not tolerate the unacceptable behavior displayed by some of his agents who were caught by a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera while attacking a car wash boy early morning of February 22 in Barangay Maligaya.
ACTF program director Richard Ligad, who is also the city government’s information officer, said he will impose appropriate sanctions against the agents involved, even removed them from the task force, if their investigation will find proof that they abused their authority.
“Ang pinag-uusapan na nga natin dito ‘yong video na mali ‘yong isang pagsaway ng anti-crime. So be it, mali nga at kailangan nating tanggalin ‘yon. Mali rin talaga,” he said.
Ligad reiterated he is not tolerating the agents whom he still refused to name, appealing for public understanding that he cannot remove them right there and then after the alleged incident without conducting their own investigation.
He explained that there is a “due process” that the ACTF is following before an agent is removed from service if he committed an offense.
“Kung may mali, di mali at paparusahan natin ‘yong may mali. Hindi naman natin tino-tolerate. Pero let us make it clear, hindi kailangang basta kaagad magtanggal right away kagayan ng gustong mangyari ng iba. Nangyari ‘yan… holiday pa… Biyernes. Ano, kinabukasan tanggalin ko na kaaagad ‘yong isang involved? Bigyan natin ng explanation kahit paano, at paliwanagan natin kasi kailangan naman natin ‘yong gawin. Dahil kung tatanggalin ko nalang kaagad ‘yan, papagutuman ko kaagad ang pamilya niyan ng hindi ko pinapaliwanag sa kanya kung ano ang dahilan, ay parang ganoon na rin ‘yong ibang mga kasamahan nyan… ay, huwag na silang mag anti-crime. Kapag sabay-sabay na nagtanggal ng uniporme ‘yang mga ‘yan, wala na, sira ang programang pangkatahimikan,” Ligad further stated.
Ligad said he is just being fair to his agents and do not want them to think that they can be removed without following procedures.
Contrary to claims that they are untaught about what their roles are as ACTF members, Ligad said they all “underwent proper training”. They are also informed hat they should “not harm arrested persons during apprehension.”
He said further that what happened was an “isolated incident” that must not be taken against the whole ACTF.
“Iyong sa akin doon kasi ganito, let us be specific sa lahat ng bagay. May pagkakamali ‘yong tao natin na nandodoon, nakita natin, pero not necessarily lahat ng tao na nandodoon may pagkakamali. May iba [doon] gumawa lang ng trabaho nila. Ano ‘yong ginawang trabaho nila? In-apprehend o nag-hot pursuit sila doon sa isang insidenteng ni-report sa kanila. Ikaw awtoridad ka, minura ka sa Rizal Avenue ng isang taong nagmamaneho ng sasakyan o nagmamaneho ng motor, ibig sabihin wala na sa matinong pag-i-isip ‘yong nagda-drive ng motor na ‘yon,” said Ligad.
In a recent interview, the car wash owner who also still refused to be named said his two employees admitted that they had a drinking session with friends in the premises of their shop and went out after to buy cigarettes.
He said it was when they are heading back to the shop that another motorcycle entered their lane in a blind spot and cut them off the road.
The two employees, he said, told him they shouted and cursed at the driver of the other motorcycle who cut them, not the ACTF members.
“[Ang mga employee ko] ‘yong driver naka-helmet, ‘yong angkas [niya] walang helmet. Noong pauwi na sila binabagtas nila ‘yong Rizal Avenue, base ito sa kuwento nila sa akin, in-overtake-an daw sila ng motor na mabilis, tapos na-cut sila, tapos noong time na ‘yon sinigawan ng naka-angkas kasi ganoon ang nangyari. Ay, tamang-tamang parating ‘yong mobile ng Anti-Crime [Task Force], doon sila nagpanalubong sa kanto ng Burgos Street. Siguro nag-assume sila na sila ‘yong sinisigawan, so nag-react siguro,” the owner added.
The car wash owner said his two employees, one 23-year-old and the other, 24, went directly to their shop after the incident “without any interaction with the ACTF members”.
After 15 or 20 minutes, he said, the ACTF members arrived in his shop and attacked the employees for allegedly cursing at them.
.Ligad noted that while some of his members “lost their patience, acted unbecomingly, and became aggressive and highly-emotional during the apprehension,” this must not be generalized as the whole team’s usual conduct.
Ligad said the ACTF is the one to first respond to city emergencies and plays an important role in its safety and security.
He added that Maligaya, specifically the area where the car wash shop is located, has had a lot of reported incidents in the past involving young people.
Edwin Guillermo, a city anti-squatting personnel, said during the same interview with Ligad that on December 25 last year, unidentified young people standing in front of the car wash shop threw stones at them.
He said his partner, Emily Vinoya, was with him riding their motorcycle when it happened around 9:30 p.m.
“Nakita ko doon tatlo, ‘yong dalawa dumampot ng bato, akala ko hindi itutuloy. Pag-bato niya ‘yon, bagsak ako sa motor. Medyo maliit lang [‘yong bato], pabirong bato siguro, pero putok ito[ng ulo ko]. ‘Yong kasunod namin binato rin nila. Tumakbo [sila] sa loob ng car wash,” said Guillermo.
He added they did not report the matter to the police nor went to the hospital for medical treatment due to financial incapacity and lack of knowledge in the process of submitting complaints to authorities.
“Hindi ko alam ‘yong proseso niyan. Tapos noong cellphone ko noong araw na ‘yon nawala din, may number sana ako ng anti-crime,” he said.
Guillermo mentioned his wife fell to the ground and hit her head on the concrete.
He also said that the office of Ligad will assist them in the medical expenses.
“Bale bukas po ipapa-CT scan ‘yan pag-dating ng doctor. Pati po ma-x-ray din ‘yong ano ko (ribs). Hindi rin namin kakayanin ‘yan. [Gusto naming] mabigyan ‘yan ng aksyon, para hindi na [sila] makapanakit ng iba,” said Guillermo.